Dec 14, 2010 8:20am
Best interview on the GD Experience.
Check this out! Fun stuff all around but it has a really deep look into the Dead Show Trip IMHO.ftp://gdead.berkeley.edu/pub/gdead/interviews/Garcia.1985.by.Paul.Krasner
This part was particularly interesting to me.
Q. Do you think, since the roots of the Grateful Dead are psychedelic, that affects the structure of a song
in particular, or the structure of a concert, in terms of the buildup?
A. It doesn't so much affect the structure of a song particularly.
Q. Except when you have a free reign in the middle of it.
A. That's right, some of our songs are big affairs, and some of them are also meant to be opened up.
They're kind of like looseleaf files, you can open 'em up and stick things in them; some are arranged so
you can contain an experience, sort of direct it, and our second half definitely has a shape which, if not
directly, is at least partially inspired by the psychedelic experience, as a wave form - there's sort of a rise
in that - the second half for us is the thing of taking chances and going all to pieces, and then coming back
Q. And that's the leap of faith of psychedelics - which is, somehow I'll get back to that core - I may
make a few convolutions in the process...
A. That's right, you might lose a few pieces, but you don't despair about seeing yourself go completely to
pieces. You don't despair about it, you let it go. We've been doing some interesting things in the last
couple of years in our most free-form stuff that's not really attached to any particular song. It's just
free-form music, it's not rhythmic, it's not really attached to any musical norms, it's the completely
We've been picking themes for that, and thinking of it as being like a painting, or a movie. Reagan in
China was one of our themes. One time we had the Kadafy Death Squad as our theme. Sometimes the
theme is terribly detailed, and sometimes it's just a broad subject. We do this when we think about it,
when we remember to, it's not a hard and fast rule, but that part of the music at times has some
tremendous other level of organization that pulls it together, makes it really interesting.
A. It's like whether you worry about the world *out there* when you're having some kind of personal
experience, a psychedelic experience or whatever, anything that's happening in your life - and the world
out there, how it affects you, how it sort of colors things that are happening in your trip. The music is like
psychedelics in a way, and there are times even when I come off stage, and I swear I've been dosed but I
know I haven't.
And it's happening to all of us in the band. There is some bio-chemical reality in there that has to do with
maybe the loudness of the music, or maybe like the East Indians believe, that intervals in music contain
emotional realities. Their music is organized where each interval has an emotional truth that goes along
with it, and so when they're playing, they're playing your heart, or they're playing a kind of nervous
system music. That's the way they believe, and it feels that way when you hear it too, so there may be
those kinds of realities in there that are kicking off some kind of bio-chemistry, subtle brain proteins, and
changes of that sort.
Q. It could be, because there's certain notes you reach on a guitar, I'll find my body moving, and when I'm
really close to myself, I realize that what I'm doing is, I'm producing endorphins.
A. Absolutely right. It's there. Since that work is kind of *outre*, nobody is really delving into that stuff
to see, is it happening or is it not happening? Maybe eventually.
Q. They're waiting until they can see some way to synthesize and merchandise endorphins - because we
can get 'em free now. They've discovered that addiction to cigarette smoking is really addiction to
endorphins produced by the tissue damage. So if a drug company, ethical or unethical, were able to
manufacture synthetic endorphins, they could eliminate all these middle processes. People wouldn't have
to jog anymore...
A. Right, the joggers are definitely strung out on endorphins. They experience withdrawal and everything.
There's so much mystery there in brain chemistry that I'm sure you cough up a psychedelic experience
every once in a while. It doesn't happen all the time, but it happens pretty frequently - frequently enough
for me personally to be aware that there's something there.
More interesting yet is that I've experienced at times - this has only happened on those rare occasions
when somebody on stage is smoking DMT, it's usually like the Hell's Angels - but when there's DMT
being smoked on stage, there's actually an interference that occurs, a measurable effect that happens to the
electronics on stage. I mean I can hear it, and if I had the right meters, I could measure it. It really changes
things - there's a real *electron* leap of some sort that produces a kind of wireless broadcast.
There are times when I'd notice, hey, suddenly something is very different, and *then* notice the smell of
DMT. Like you're playing an electric guitar, you're doing very minute things with your fingertips. The
smallest string is 9/1000th of an inch in diameter, and that's pretty small - so you're dealing with minute
little changes which are amplified up to huge size, and so the psycho-acoustic effect that happens in that
chain, is something you feel with your body, it's not just something you hear, you *feel* it, it affects your
So that DMT thing, it's like somebody sticks in a square wave generator, all of a sudden the waves are just
chopped off right at the top, it's like a super fuzz tone is inserted in the line somewhere, and also the
amplitude jumps up about 20-30%. It's an amazing effect. We don't *know* what the brain does. I'm
sure it's a measurable, quantifiable, repeatable thing, in terms of "science."
Q. But always, underneath, there's another layer of mystery - but everybody needs a metaphor for the
mystery - so people who hear the 100th monkey story, say, well, the first young female monkey to wash
off the sweet potato was an Aires, and they have a certain pioneer spirit.
A. What was the sweet potato saying to the monkey?
Q. Help me to meet my sweet-potato-hood.
A. Help me get the skin off.
Q. The truth is, those monkeys needed all of that sand on the sweet potatoes for roughage in their diet -
then these meddling anthropologists come along - now there's islands full of constipated monkeys.
A. Now the monkeys just love the anthropologists. They take their lunch. They don't even f**k with the
sweet potatoes anymore.
Q. They take their laxatives anyway.
A. Japanese monkeys hooked on Ex-Lax.
Q. That could be a theme for a Dead concert ... What picture would you paint right now?